Here are a few phrases and terminology that might be helpful for you as you head out on the track.
Trick or John: this is what we they call the person that pays for sex. You will run into John’s quite a bit when you are out on the track. At times they will solicit you for your services. It is important to know how you will minister to and address the John’s when you come into contact with them. They are broken and searching for fulfillment, they need help just as much as the prostitutes.
Husband: this is what they call the pimp who prostitutes a girl (can also be referred to as “boyfriend” or “daddy”). When you meet a prostitute that may tell you that she does not have a pimp but has a husband or boyfriend, that is her pimp.
Stable: Several prostitutes owned by the same pimp. A pimp will have a stable of girls.
Runner: Someone who watches the girls on the street for the pimp, this is the guy to takes her money. This is the type of pimp you will most often run into. The main pimp that is in charge is most often very elusive and you will not run into him all that often, the runners you will see out on the track.
Bottom Bitch: This is the girl in the pimp’s stable who has been with him the longest and is in charge of the other girls. You will notice her on the street if there is a large group of girls that seem to be working together – she will be the one giving the orders and the one in charge of turning out the new girls.
Renegade Girl: This is a prostitute who does not have a pimp. It is very dangerous to enter into The Game and go out on the track without a pimp (of course it is dangerous with a pimp too), but a girl without a pimp has no one to watch her back, make sure she’s alive and get her out of sticky situations. A Renegade girl is still expected to abide by all the rules of the game and if she is out of pocket she can be punished even if she was not aware. However, she gets to keep all her money.
Track: The track is the street where prostitutes work. Pimps move the girls around a lot from track to track as police move in and out of certain areas and as demand fluctuates.
Circuit: Pimps move their girls to and from a web of tracks that make up a circuit. There are circuits all across the US – Hollywood, Las Vegas, San Francisco, etc. The pimps also work together across the circuits so they can move girls more easily.
Turned Out: Being ‘turned out’ is a prostitute’s first act of prostitution. You can usually tell when girls are being turned out because they are relatively young, they are afraid to look or speak to you and they are in small groups together all along the track.
Sweating: This is when a pimp other than the prostitute’s corners her, harasses her and sweet talks her to come work for him, he may also try to “break” her. We see this on the street quite often and it is uncomfortable to see the girls so heavily harassed, but the point is to get the girls “out of pocket” so that the pimp has authority to punish her or take her on for his own stable.
Out of Pocket: A prostitute is not allowed to speak, look at or make gestures to any other pimp. If she does, he can choose to punish her for breaking the rules of The Game or say she “chose” him and take all her money since she now belongs to him.
Remember, when you’re interacting with people participating in The Game, these terms might come up. And don’t think that just because you don’t live in an urban area, there aren’t sexually exploited people in your area.
Julia Speck is assistant director for Fuller’s DMin program and volunteers with After Hours, a street outreach to Pimps and Prostitutes in Los Angeles.